Author Archives: George Simmers

After many years as a teacher, I retired and began researching for a Ph.D. on the fiction of the Great War – especially the books, stories and plays that were written during the War or immediately afterwards.

‘The Silent Morning’ in paperback

The excellent news is that The Silent Morning, the essay collection about the aftermath of the Armistice, edited by Trudi Tate and Kate Kennedy, is now in a paperback edition at a much less scary price. I’ve mentioned this before (click here for a blog post including a full list of the book’s contents) and […]


On Wednesdays I go to the excellent Newsome Junior School near my home in Huddersfield, to listen to children reading. By the front path yesterday morning, there was an installation of poppies, made by the children. The design is influenced by Wave, part of the Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red display of ceramic […]

The Magnet

I gave my Magnet talk at Manchester yesterday. That’s one I really enjoyed researching, but I ought to move on now. I had intended to publish the paper on this blog, but I now think I’d rather wait, and incorporate it into a longer piece of writing about ways in which popular culture found ways […]

Talbot Mundy… and the Magnet again

It’s India month at the Sheffield Popular Fiction Reading Group, and my report on Talbot Mundy’s King of the Khyber Rifles can now be read online on the group’s blog. Like Buchan’s Greenmantle, also published in 1916, this is a story about one man sent to combat a Turkish plan to inflame the Empire’s Muslims […]

Mr Kennington’s Prophecy

There’s an exhibition at the University of Delaware that I wish I could get to. It’s of documents about the First World War from the collection of Mark Samuels Lasner. The exhibition’s website gives you several specimens, including a letter from Rosenberg and sketches for Gassed by Sargent. Mr Lasner is  an expert on Max […]

‘Dawn’: Edith Cavell and the censors

On Saturday, at the splendid Hyde Park Picture House in Leeds, we had a rare chance to see the 1929 film Dawn, about Edith Cavell. It’s a remarkable film, and it was made more enjoyable by the four short talks that preceded it.

‘Requiem’: Rose Allatini on Fitzroy Street

When Rose Allatini chose to publish Despised and Rejected under a different name, because of its sexual and political unorthodoxy, she chose for a pseudonym A. T. Fitzroy, after Fitzroy Street, where she was living. Requiem (1919), the novel she published after Despised and Rejected, gives an idea of what the name ‘Fitzroy’ meant to […]

Who read the ‘Magnet’?

In its heyday the Magnet sold over 200,000 copies a week. Since many copies were likely to have been shared, passed around or swapped the readership would have been higher than this. In 1916, the magazine printed this page of readers’ photos. One wears a a straw boater and one a yarmulke; others wear cloth […]

A Pacifist at St. Jim’s

The most famous protest against the war in 1917 was Siegfried Sassoon’s. Much less well-remembered is the sudden and vocal conversion to pacifism of Skimpole, of St Jim’s School, as recorded in the Gem comic.

‘Horniman’s Choice’ at the Finborough

You could write the significant history of English theatre in the twentieth century by tracing the careers of three dynamic women: Annie Horniman, Lilian Baylis and Joan Littlewood. Of these, Horniman is probably the least known, but when she took over the Gaiety Theatre in Manchester a hundred years ago, it was the beginning of […]


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